Oh the places you’ll go! We hope your schedule includes some fun travel plans. But the fun part tends to take a backseat right before you go as you frantically get all your work done, pack, and figure everything out before your trip. Ugh.

Organize your travel so that you don’t stress yourself out in the process. That way, half the fun is getting there! Here are some ideas to help.

I. Prepare – Two Weeks Before Departure

Work – At least two weeks before you go, be thinking about what needs to be done at work. Alert those who may be requesting things from you that you are about to go out of town. If you can, set a deadline for new requests. For example, any work that has to be done before your departure date must be assigned by X. Choose a date at least three work days before you leave so you have time to get everything done. The trick here is to enforce your deadline and defer new requests: “I’ve got a lot on my plate because I’m heading out of town this weekend. But I can take care of that when I return.” Or come up with your own.

Home – Make a packing list, if you don’t already have one. Keep the list somewhere handy so you can add things to it as you think of them. Also make a list of the “house to-dos” that you must take care of before going on a trip. These include holding the mail, setting light timers, emptying garbage cans, etc.

II. One Week Before Departure

Work – Remind colleagues you are leaving and make a list of everything that MUST get done before you go. Make notes of things that are “nice to get done,” but not necessary.

Home – Confirm all reservations with restaurants, tours, travel, etc. Make sure people have your contact information in case something changes. Make a list of those locations with phone numbers and addresses or print out any required documentation, such as boarding passes or etickets if you prefer them printed. If you use a smartphone, you can pin locations in maps programs so you can click on them and get quick driving, transit, or walking directions.

  • If you’re driving, make sure to check the car’s tires or get an oil change if needed.
  • Alert credit card companies if you are traveling out of the country so they don’t stop your card while you’re overseas.
  • Did you put a hold on your mail and/or newspaper? Timers on watering systems, or will someone be stopping by to water plants?

III. Three Days Before Departure

Home – Time to start packing! Air out the suitcases, start laying things out on the extra bed (or wherever). That way you’ll realize you’re out of travel shampoo or need to dry clean that outfit for the special dinner out. If you have children, make sure they know you are going on a trip and encourage them to start a packing list. Depending on mode of travel, a separate bag for children’s toys and games is also helpful.

IV. One Day Before Departure

Work – Finish the rest of your tasks. Make note of any new ones coming in and let those people know you’ll begin that work when you return. Set your “out of office” on email and celebrate!  

Home – Finalize packing and departure preparations such as setting the timers on your lights. Hopefully by now you’re all set and ready to relax!

Here are some other packing/travel organizing tips:

You can find some great travel hacks on our travel Pinterest board.